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Japan Rugby, Samoa Rugby

Japan’s win against Samoa breaks TV records as over 25 million tune in

Japan’s win against Samoa breaks TV records as over 25 million tune in

7.10.2019

Japan’s win against Samoa breaks TV records as over 25 million tune in

The thrilling last-gasp victory peaked at 46.1% of TV audience share in the host nation

From Scotland's demolition of Samoa to France's narrow escape against Tonga, who makes the team of round three?

The rookie All Blacks prop was thrust into the contest against Namibia early when his team were struggling to break down the African side following Nepo Laulala’s yellow card, but not only did he settle straight into the match, he immediately bagged himself a try that convinced Steve Hansen to leave him on for the rest of the match.

Ireland may have been criticised for a drab performance in their victory over Russia, but Ruddock proved the silver lining with a man-of-the-match display that could thrust him into the side for the big contests.

A livewire showing as the beating heart of a Flying Fijian side back at full strength and firing on all cylinders. Scored a try himself and delivered the quick ball that the Pacific Islanders crave to play their unique brand of rugby.

His form is keeping Sonny Bill Williams out of the Test side when New Zealand play their crunch fixtures, but on the weekend’s evidence it was easy to see why. Two tries, the first an eye-catching mazy run from halfway, secures him the No 12 shirt this week, and probably for the All Blacks in the quarter-finals.

Possibly his best performance for England in the No 15 shirt to date, Daly linked up superbly with Jonny May – who is hard done by not to make the side this week – and Anthony Watson in what was a scintillating first half for the English back three.

Mbonambi was excellent at the lineout, finding his jumper on every occasion, but it was his work around the pitch that really stood out in the win over Italy as he bagged himself a try in the process.

Captained New Zealand in the absence of Kieran Read and led by example. Whitelock bagged a try himself, didn’t panic when New Zealand were clawed back in the first half and contributed well with the ball in hand. His aggression in kicking for the corner early on paid off with a 71-point return.

The Japanese No 8 was one of their top performers against Samoa, carrying well and showing a deft touch with his ability to offload from the tackle. Earmarked as a real star of Japanese rugby, he looks to have real captaincy potential.

The star of the side this week. When Radradra is playing his best rugby he is simply unstoppable, and so he proved last week. The Bordeaux back scored twice against Georgia and led pretty much every attacking stats list as the European side failed to shackle is delightful talent.

How do you stop him? The answer is yet to be found, with Kolbe’s low centre of gravity, stunning footwork and Habana-like pace leaving team after team in knots – this time Italy – with two tries to kick-start his tally at this World Cup.

More than 150,000 fans watched Japan’s win at the weekend, some 20,000 more than the number that turned out for the Brave Blossoms’ stunning upset victory against Ireland, and it means that the existing pool stage record of 770,000 fans set at the last World Cup in England stands to be broken.

Japan’s final pool match could yet exceed that number even further, with their Pool A clash poised to be a winner-takes-all showdown to determine who progresses to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Read more: The Independent

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